Biotin or Vitamin B7? Hair Skin and Nails Supplement

A thorough research in the field of the human hair maintenance and management has revealed a rather surprising element called biotin. There are largely biotin-infused shampoos, biotin scalp treatments, and also biotin supplements, it is rather unavoidable in the world of hair treatment and maintenance.

Biotin, as known as vitamin B7 or vitamin H is a member of the vitamin B family and also an important source for generating energy as well as maintaining the functionality of the entire human body. The body needs biotin just like every other vitamin to stay healthy. Biotin keeps some body systems such as the liver, nervous system, hair, eyes and many more, healthy and ready for their individual business in the body.

This vitamin is naturally found in foods such as egg yolks, salmon, milk, carrot, nuts and leafy greens and also produced in the body from the intestinal bacteria. The body does not need so much biotin to function but since it is essential to the growth of cells and most times lengthening of the human hair and strengthening of nails, biotin is needed in a recommended amount for the system.

It is a water-soluble vitamin consisting of about five carboxylases-propionyl-CoA carboxylase, pyruvate carboxylase, methylcrotonyl-CoA carboxylase [MCC], acetyl-CoA carboxylase 1, and acetyl-CoA carboxylase 2. This vitamin also speeds up the critical phases in the fatty acids, carbohydrate, amino acids and glucose breakdown in the body. This functionality is what gives biotin the role of generating energy in the human body. It is also known to play a vital role in the gene regulation by modifying the transcription factor activities and also in cell signaling.

Just like every other necessary nutrient in the body, biotin is generated by bacterial that occurs naturally in the bowel. Biotin is mostly in free form but found in large quantities in protein. The protein is broken down by the gastrointestinal proteases and peptidases to release free biotin which is in turn taken into the biocytin and biotin-oligopeptides for further processing by an enzyme in the intestinal lumen called the biotinidase. The free biotin is then absorbed into the small intestine and then stored in the liver.

Experts have revealed that the recommended daily amount of biotin needed in the body is about thirty micrograms. When the excretion of biotin in the urine is very low, it can serve as an indicator for biotin deficiency. Biotin can however, be taken as a supplement when found in low concentrations in the body. Note that, taking biotin supplements is not recommended unless suggested by a health care provider.

This article would be looking into the biotin supplement–the facts about it, the roles, the effects and possible side effects, and the health benefits.


A few numbers of studies have shown that biotin has a positive effect in nail strengthening but suggests nothing about promoting hair growth in healthy people. There is however, some survey that came up with the fact that biotin can readily cure people with thinning hair lines when taken in a recommended dosage.

Biotin supplement is water-soluble, so, when in excess in the body it automatically turns into a liquid waste and get passed out of the body through fluid pores; this process is however not seen in people with biotin deficiency. Biotin disorder is most times noted by the brittle nature of hair, nails and other irritating symptoms.


There are practically many foods and food products that contain biotin, food that contain biotin the most are organ meats, eggs, fish, nut, seeds, meat, and some types of vegetables like sweet potatoes. The level of biotin in food depends on a lot of things; some of them are the planting season, the plant variety and certain processing and storing techniques.

Biotin is also found in nutritional supplements and supplements containing combinations of B-complex vitamins, and in some multivitamin products. Studies reveal that the rate of absorption of oral, free biotin is hundred percent notwithstanding that some people consume doses of up to 20 mg/day biotin.


There are strong claims that biotin supplements are often promoted for hair, skin, and nail health. Nonetheless, these claims are sustained by very few case reports and small studies. The only case reported to support the claim that biotin supplements can encourage hair health and growth, were those made only in children. The study revealed that giving about 3–5 mg/day biotin to children with a rare disorder where the hair looks and feels brittle and also unable to be combed, greatly improved the hair after three to four months.

The case report that encouraged the use of biotin supplements to support skin health was also that of infants. The study revealed that when 100 mcg to 10 mg of biotin supplement was taken daily by children it resulted in vivid improvements in rash as well as alopecia.


There are certain claims that biotin may be effective in treating some medical conditions such as hypoglycemia, hyperlipidemia. It has been known to some percentage to control glucose in obese patients with diabetes when taken with chromium picolinate.

Though there is a general belief that biotin supplement intake improves the hair and nails, there is currently little or no medical evidence to support this claim. Although vitamins and supplements are known to have negative effects on some chosen medications or medical conditions, taking biotin however as prescribed by a doctor or in the quantity found in a normal nutritional level, has not shown any adverse side effects.

Cases of biotic deficiency was seen and reported in women who smoked, it was discovered that smoking increased the metabolism of biotin in their bodies and resulted in biotin deficiency. Another situation also revealed that regular consumption of the whites of eggs also created a biotin deficiency. With this deficiency however came another condition known as biotin-responsive limb weakness. In another research also, raw egg whites was regularly consumed and this was shown to cause a biotin deficiency as well. Some of the signs seen in biotin deficiency include; high cholesterol, hair loss or thinning, heart problems and rashes on the skin.

Owning to the vitamin imbalance in people taking overdose of biotin, there is another side effect besides hair growth and this effect causes people to break out.

A researcher once explained that when taking biotin supplements, the amount of biotin in the gut outnumbers the quantity of vitamin B5, and this leads to a comparative vitamin B5 deficiency, deficiency of Pantothenic acid, which is same as the effect seen in excess intake of biotin, and this can lead to acne flares. Simply put, excess intake of biotin results to B5 deficiency and this is what causes the skin to freak out.

A board-certified dermatologist at the Laser and Skin Surgery Center of New York, Dr. Jessica J. Krant reported that excess ingested biotin can lead to acne and rashes outbreak on the skin. She however stated that there are no real scientific, blinded, placebo-controlled research trials to prove this claim. She concluded by saying that if acne worsens on intake of biotin, then biotin may be the real cause of the skin problem.

Generally, the signs that has been associated with biotin overdose are slower release of insulin, skin rashes, lower vitamin C and B6 levels and high blood sugar levels.


When the quantity of biotin in the body is less than the recommended amount, a health condition called biotin inadequacy or deficiency emerges. There are however some group of people that may be at risk if biotin inadequacy; the first group are individuals with biotinidase deficiency. This health state is a rare recessive disorder that stops the body from releasing free biotin. If this deficiency is not properly treated it can produce neurological and cutaneous indicators, and intense biotinidase deficiency can lead to coma or death.

Another set of people that are at risk of biotin inadequacy are individuals with chronic alcohol exposure. Protracted intake of alcohol prevents biotin absorption into the body. Another study also showed that at least one third of pregnant women cultivate very little biotin deficiency despite their regulated biotin intakes.

The body makes enough biotin on its own daily through the daily nutrition intake. It is therefore advised to take biotin supplement only when recommended by a health care provider and in the given directives. There are rear health cases that can cause the need for addition ingestion of biotin and this should be determined by the doctor.

Supplements are generally not checked for safety and purity by the U.S Food and Drug Administration so it is advised to always buy supplements from trusted manufacturers. Although there are insufficient researches made on the possible side effects of the intake of high doses of biotin, there is however, studies revealing that some of these suspected side effects can be very severe.

Finally, even in cases where brittle nails, thin hair lines and skin rashes are experienced, be sure to get the recommendation and help of a health care provider before proceeding with the intake of biotin supplements.